I had been given a festival spot, and it came with a comp ticket. I asked my mate to come with me for the weekend, and we were both up for it. It had been years since we had done this sort of thing, so we were as giddy as school-kids on the drive down. We were going to grab the weekend by the throat and have the kind of messy fun that had been such a part of our adolescent experience.
The guy who we bought them from was typically shady, the sort of bloke who you wouldn’t buy a paper-clip from, but that all seemed part of the thrill, part of the experience.
The area we were in was playing a lot of dub-step, and it saddened me to admit to myself that I didn’t get it, or particularly like it for that matter. There seemed to be some sort of disconnect between the bass groove and the drum-beat, so any attempt to try dancing to it made it look as though you were suffering from the early onset of Parkinson’s disease.
We decided to go to a different arena. We were already pretty drunk by that point, and the first one didn’t have any effect, so we made the somewhat junior error of taking more instead of waiting a bit longer.
After about half an hour, I turned around and looked at my friend. He was sweating a lot and he had gone fire-engine red. I felt quite sweaty myself, and I could the little rushes of electricity move up and down my spine. Then it really kicked in.
It all became too much. The noise and heat and light made my head swim, and I rushed over to the side of a speaker and spewed up. It came out like a hot rush of lava.
I could tell my friend wasn’t feeling too great either, so we staggered back to our tent. A couple of young girls shook their heads at us as we passed them. We had become the middle-aged ravers that we used to sneer at years ago, the Hacienda causalities that would stand in the corner of the club in their day-glo t-shirts, chucking out shapes in some furious attempt to stop the onset of age and maturity.
After making it back to the tent, my mate went off on one, and starting getting paranoid about his job and his life and the fact that he hadn’t spoken to his son in over six months. Eventually he went off to sleep in the car.
I crashed out on my sleeping bag, and started to repeat the mantra in my head that helped me to get my shit together in the past:
“Get over it, ride it out… it will all be right in the morning.”
We went home early.